CLEVELAND -- When developing a marketing strategy for its new line of Kwanzaa cards, American Greetings here decided that no publicity might be the best publicity of all.
The company did not want to be perceived as trying to cash in on the popularity of Kwanzaa, the African-American-oriented holiday that is attracting more and more celebrants each year. So American Greetings took a subtle approach, said Jose Martinez, assistant product manager for ethnic cards.
"I think you can really offend the African-American consumer if you go and try to make a big deal of the cards and if you try to make them look too commercial," he said. "We are being very careful with our whole presentation."
The cards will be on selected store shelves at the beginning of November. Because the line of eight designs is merchandised with Christmas cards, it was important to differentiate it from other cards and to make a statement at the point of purchase, said Martinez. The company is relying on caption locators and right-angle signs with the ethnic kinte cloth pattern in aisles to draw attention to the greeting cards.
He said ethnic micromarketing is especially crucial now for retailers since Hispanics and African-Americans are the two fastest-growing segments of the country's population. These groups are more brand loyal and store loyal than Caucasians -- another factor retailers should note, he added.